The holidays are comfortably in the rear view and it’s the perfect time to travel to that tropical destination you’ve been saving up to visit. Winter travel is on! But, sometimes traveling means long airplane rides and numerous in-flight cocktails.
For years, you assumed that imbibing alcohol while flying would lower your immune systems and leave you susceptible to illness. Airplanes are pretty much flying germ factories with tray tables and touch screens being the main culprits. You were told that if you were doing any traveling, you’d be wise to get a flu shot and bring some hand sanitizer before you embark on our journey — lest you return with some rare, medieval disease that you didn’t realize still existed.
But, recent research says that drinking alcohol while traveling (and on the road) might actually be the smartest thing you can do to prevent illness. That is, if you don’t want some pretty nasty illnesses like salmonella or E.Coli. Seriously, docs are suggesting that you combat the potential of ending your trip prematurely because of Montezuma’s Revenge by knocking back a few cocktails or glasses of wine.
Just be careful when drinking in-flight. After only a drink or two, you might start to feel a little tipsy. That’s because the lower level of oxygen in your blood makes you feel more drunk than you actually are. But, you are also much more likely to get dehydrated because of the dry air that is constantly circulating in the plane. It’s this same air that carries pathogens that could ruin your impending trip.
If they plane doesn’t get you, the food handling and lack of proper food safety once you land might. “Whenever you go on holiday abroad, particularly on all-inclusive trips, you run the gauntlet of the restaurants and buffet bars,” Richard Conroy, food scientist and founder of SickHoliday.com told The Sun Online. “They can often be breeding grounds for food-borne pathogens like salmonella, E.Coli, Listeria, and even Cholera.”
First off: This is why you should eat street food. It’s cooked hot and quick, no heat lamps. He says that one of the keys to preventing illness is by enjoying beer, wine and liquor. Yes, really. The key though is moderation. Getting plastered and falling asleep in a beach chair won’t really make you feel very healthy. It will just give you a splitting headache and desire to chug a lot of Frost Glacier Cherry Gatorade. In moderation, they are an effective form of protection from pathogens that would otherwise put a sad, uncomfortable end to your vacation.
According to Conroy, when you drink, the alcohol in your stomach destroys harmful bacteria that would have otherwise made you sick and next day acid secretions finish off anything left. Wine (specifically red) with it’s antioxidant properties is known to be more effective than other forms of alcohol. “Tests have shown that there’s anti-microbial properties in wine, which help defend against bacteria, and red appears to do a better job than white due to an increased number of antioxidants,” says Conroy. This isn’t news for fans of red wine as they have been told about it’s positive effects for years.
Just like any new and exciting scientific research, it’s best not to get carried away. It’s likely that this does actually help, but who knows if another study in six months will completely disprove all of the results. In the meantime, it’s obvious that the only way to guarantee that your vacation doesn’t end with a long layover on a porcelain throne is to drink up early and often. Enjoy yourself, but know that you are helping to keep yourself safe. Those three glasses of red wine at dinner might as well be Doctor prescribed.